Diego Santos scored a goal and assisted on another, leading Union University to a 3-1 victory over Cumberland in a match in men’s soccer action Thursday at Lindsey Donnell Stadium-Kirk Field.
The match featured nine yellow cards, one red card and 27 fouls between the two clubs. Union (1-0-0) controlled play for much of the very chippy contest, though the Bulldogs (1-2-0) scored in the 74th minute and produced several good scoring chances in the following minutes, but UU’s Taylor Smith made a save on a point-blank shot by Roderick Zacharias and three others were blocked away by Union defenders to preserve the one-goal advantage.
Taylor Mayo’s header that bounced off the hands of CU keeper Ian Hamilton and into the side net in the 82nd minute was the dagger, giving UU the season-opening road victory.
Union controlled play for much of the first half and created the best scoring chances, with Hamilton making a pair of nice saves in the opening 20 minutes. Cumberland wasn’t quite so lucky in the 30th minute, with a bouncing ball ending up on the foot of Santos about 12 yards from net, and the senior buried it, low and right, for a 1-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs earned three yellow cards for dissent in the period in what was a very physical match, with the teams called for 14 fouls in the opening 45 minutes. Josh Armstrong looked to give CU the lead in the 20th minute with a terrific left-foot strike from about 25 yards, but was called offsides.
After fairly neutral, albeit very physical play, to start the second half, Santos hit a streaking Caleb Mills in the 69th minute for a 2-0 advantage. Cumberland’s Harry Mason cut the deficit in half five minutes later, taking a long ball from Luke Wilson, beating two defenders along with Smith for his sixth goal of the year.
But the physical play finally took a toll on Mason, who was red carded in the 87th minute after a skirmish between several players. He must sit out CU’s match Saturday at Union College.
In the 82nd minute Alex Pratt played a short corner kick to Chip Crockarell, with Pratt taking the ball back toward the top right corner of the 18-yard box. Mayo headed the hard cross just past the back post, off the hands of a diving Hamilton and into the net for the final tally.
Cumberland will travel to Union College on Saturday for a 3 p.m. match and Martin Methodist on Sept. 10 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.